LISD teacher shot, killed by neighbor


A Leander ISD teacher was killed on Saturday night when a dispute with a neighbor turned violent. 

Adam Ladner, 41, a science teacher and girls soccer coach at Running Brushy Middle School in Cedar Park, was shot multiple times in what police say started as a noise complaint. His neighbor, 64-year-old Larry Wayne Smith, was arrested and charged with murder.

It is the second shooting death in Cedar Park in less than a week. 

“The Running Brushy Middle School and Leander (school district) family is saddened to learn of the unexpected death of a faculty member, Adam Ladner,” Jim Rose, the school’s principal, said in a written statement. “His passing has affected students and staff members deeply. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.” 

Cedar Park police responded to a reports of shots fired in the 1000 block of Savanna Lane, in the Forest Oaks subdivision near 183A, about 11:30 p.m. Officers found Ladner dead upon arrival, having suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

The neighbors reportedly argued over a noise complaint that led to a physical altercation, Cedar Park police said in a press conference Monday afternoon. Officers had previously responded to a call at the same address earlier that evening over loud talking. Smith’s arrest mugshot shows two prominent bandages and what appears to be a black eye, and Ladner’s body was found in front of Smith’s house. 

"With a shocked and heavy heart, we are all in disbelief of what happened to Adam,” Ladner’s family said in a released statement. “He was a devoted dad, son, uncle, nephew, fiancé and friend to everyone that knew him. He was a very well respected gentleman and loved everyone in his life including his family and kids with all his heart… Anyone who knew Adam, knows that he had a huge heart and would help anyone who needed it. We greatly appreciate the outpouring from the community for their support during this difficult time."

Ladner started with Leander ISD in the 2007-2008 school year at Plain Elementary School. After a year teaching in Plano ISD, Ladner returned to Leander ISD in the 2009-10 school year at River Ridge Elementary School, where he remained through the 2014-2015 school year. After spending a year at Cox Elementary School, Ladner moved to Running Brushy Middle School. He taught science and physical education, coaching cross country, girls basketball and most recently volleyball and soccer.

“We understand there will be a variety of emotions and responses to Coach Ladner’s passing,” Rose said. “The most important things we can do are offer support and encourage an open expression of feelings.”

The district made its crisis team, which offers grief counseling, available to students and staff members beginning on Monday.